Here’s How to Print Real Photos in the Digital Age
Photographs have never been easier to take, and you no longer risk the expense of printing images that aren’t up to par. However, the digital age has also made it much more complicated to get prints of your favorite photos. Most areas don’t have a one-hour photo center anymore, and it’s no longer common for grocery stores and pharmacies to have on-site personnel that excels at photo development.
This can feel like a major barrier, but you can still get prints for your photo albums and frames. In fact, there are now many more choices available to help you get the perfect size and quantity of prints. You just need to know where to look!
Online vs. Offline Printing
Even if there’s no one-hour photo in your neighborhood, the odds are high that there are several places where you can print pictures. Walgreens and CVS are two of many nationwide chain stores that have offline options. Simply place the desired images on a memory stick and head to the closest kiosk. Alternatively, some of these businesses will allow you to upload images via email or an app. Either way, the result is the same; your photos will be available to print from the kiosk as soon as you arrive.
Meanwhile, online printing services encourage you to upload images to a website or app. From there, you can typically choose from many options, including editing each picture to get the perfect images. Committing your order will send it to the company to print your photos, which will then be mailed to you.
Pros of Offline Printing
- Photos are available instantly.
- Pick-up at a local store.
- See prints in-person to make sure they turn out okay.
Pros of Online Printing
- Online printing typically offers stronger editing tools.
- You’ll be able to take advantage of special discounts; many websites offer the first order for free!
- You can easily upload a large quantity of images and select a variety of sizes without spending a lot of time at a kiosk.
- You can order prints 24/7 without heading to head out to a store afterward.
Top Online Printing Services
For most people, the convenience and added perks of online printing make this their preferred method. There are numerous services to choose from, so we’ve narrowed it down to the top three to help you make a quicker decision!
Snapfish offers a great value if you’re looking for standard 4×6 prints. This site is also one of the best-known online options for photo printing. 
- 4×6 prints are only nine cents.
- They offer prints up to 20×30.
- Canvas prints are available.
- Snapfish has local pickup options and photo editing tools.
- There’s an easy to use app for those who want to print photos from their smartphone.
- The value goes down with larger sizes; for instance, Snapfish charges $2.99 for an 8×10 print.
- You can’t get metal prints.
- There’s no TIFF support for people who use SLR digital cameras.
Nations Photo Lab
Nations Photo Lab isn’t a household name yet, but their value and features make this company a big competitor in the world of online photo printing. 
- Excellent image quality.
- Great value for larger prints; for example, an 8×10 photo is only $1.90.
- Print sizes go up to 30×45.
- Metal and canvas prints are available.
- TIFF files are supported.
- The price of 4×6 prints is 27 cents, although this does reflect the increased photo quality.
- No local pickup options.
- No photo editing tools.
- All orders must go through the website because Nations Photo Lab doesn’t offer a mobile app.
AdoramaPix provides a wealth of options for people who have an advanced interest in photography.  Fortunately, beginners and those without a lot of tech expertise can also utilize this site.
- AdoramaPix is the best value on this list for prints sized 5×7 and up (69 cents for 5×7 up to $11.99 for 16×20).
- Prints are excellent quality.
- Metal and canvas prints are available.
- Print sizes go up to 20×30.
- Robust photo editing tools.
- Photo contests and classes for those with an advanced interest in photography.
- TIFF file support.
- A mobile app makes photo uploading easy.
- Local pickup isn’t offered.
- Some users may be intimidated by their long list of options and photographer friendly approach.
Making a Decision
Once you choose between online and offline printing, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to select the best option for your needs. If you want to upload photos from your smartphone, you’ll definitely want to consider Snapfish and AdoramaPix. On the other hand, if high quality photos and inexpensive large images are what’s most important to you, then Nations Photo Lab might be the smartest choice.
Either way, there may be a bit of a learning curve at first, but you should still be able to order prints with relative ease.
- “Home Page.” Snapfish.com, Snapfish, 2018, www.snapfish.com/photo-gift/home.
- “Home Page.” NationsPhotoLab.com, Nations Photo Lab, 2018, www.nationsphotolab.com/.
- “Home Page.” AdoramaPix.com, AdoramaPix, 2018, www.adoramapix.com/.